Your baby’s poop gives an important clue about his digestive health. Seeing green poop in your baby’s diaper is enough to scare you. Green poop may seem strange but is, most times, normal. The truth is that the appearance of your baby’s poop – smell, size, colour, texture – may vary due to a lot of factors like diet and age.
The colour of babies’ first poop is usually black, referred to as Meconium. It may have a tint of green. Then there is the ‘transitional poop’, which your baby passes out after his third day of birth, which is greenish-yellow and loose. Then, by the sixth day, your baby’s poop may have a yellow appearance, seedy (or non-seedy) and liquid. This is as a result of your breast milk or formula fat. As your baby becomes older, his poop may be yellow or brown, depending on what he eats.
So what causes green poop in babies?
Causes of green poop in babies
Leafy vegetables like peas, cabbage, spinach or lettuce can change your baby’s poop to green colour. For older babies, it could be because of their inability to chew these greens properly or their immature digestive system.
Exclusively breastfed babies may pass green poop because of what that their mother may have eaten. It could be candy, soda or snack with green colouring or veggies. The fact is that these ‘green’ foods can easily pass into the babies’ digestive tract via breast milk, causing green poop.
Lactose intolerance/ cow milk allergy
Though quite rare, babies may have an intolerance or adverse reaction to lactose, a sugar found in milk. A similar condition is cow milk allergy. Though different, both cow milk allergy and lactose intolerance nearly have the same symptoms. Both can cause discomforting symptoms in babies but not limited to green, frothy poop.
For formula-fed babies, green poop is considered normal, especially if the formula is iron-fortified. In this scenario, green poop does not affect the digestive system. Formula-fed babies may have smellier and less frequent poop.
Breastfed babies may also pass out green poop if their mum is taking iron supplements, antibiotics or similar medications.
Fore milk-hind milk imbalance
A common symptom of foremilk-hindmilk imbalance is green-coloured stool. Breast milk is essential for baby’s growth and development. While foremilk which contains lactose and low-fat serves to energize the baby and promote brain development, hindmilk is creamy and fatty and works to increase the baby’s physical growth. Babies are required to have an equal ratio of both for good health. An imbalance will cause indigestion, which can lead to green poop.
Illnesses like stomach flu may cause babies to pass out watery green poop. If this happens, breastfeed your baby frequently because the breast milk is rich in antibodies that bolsters the baby’s immune system. Seek medical attention if your baby continually passes out watery poop (diarrhoea). Diarrhoea can dehydrate babies. Observe your baby for the following symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry tears.
- Dry diapers for a prolonged time.
- Sunken fontanelles–soft spot on the top of your baby’s head.
- Loss of appetite.
How to prevent green poop in your baby
Here’s how to prevent green poop in your baby:
- Limit intake of too much leafy vegetables. They are the primary cause of green poop in babies.
- Do not give your baby cow milk. Babies find cow milk difficult to digest, compared to formula. Cow milk has a high amount of lactose, minerals and proteins that are capable of straining babies’ immature digestive system, causing them diarrhoea and green stool.
- Watch out for food allergy when introducing your baby to solids. Introduce your baby to new foods slowly and cautiously, so you can quickly identify any food that may trigger an allergic reaction in your baby. Apart from cow milk, babies are mostly allergic to egg, shellfish, wheat and soy.
In most cases, green poop is normal and should not be a source of worry to you. However, it is crucial to check for other signs that may accompany. Be wary about dehydration and fever, and seek medical attention if your baby is passing watery stool, refusing food and vomiting.